Interpretation and Use of K–12 Language Proficiency Assessment Score Reports: Perspectives of Educators and Parents

WCER Working Paper No. 2016-8

Ahyoung Alicia Kim, Akira Kondo, Alissa Blair, Lorena Mancilla, Mark Chapman, and Carsten Wilmes

November 2016, 22 pp.


WIDA ACCESS for ELLs (ACCESS), annually taken by approximately two million K–12 English language learners (ELLs) in the United States, is a large-scale exam for assessing their English proficiency. ACCESS measures the four language domains of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. After students complete the exam, score reports are provided to stakeholders, including educators and parents. However, few studies have been conducted regarding the stakeholders’ interpretation and use of ACCESS score reports. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to examine how K–12 educators and parents interpret and use score reports.

Participants were 18 educators (12 ELL teachers and six ELL coordinators) from 13 U.S. states and 12 parents from two states. In a 30-minute interview, they discussed how they interpret and use the information presented on ACCESS score report, and they also suggested how to enhance the reports. Collected data were qualitatively analyzed according to the three themes: (1) interpretation, (2) use, and (3) suggestions for future score reports.

Findings show that educators frequently referred to the proficiency level index of the four domains and composite domains to interpret student performance. They used the information for school-level decisions, such as programming and lesson planning, and district-level planning of budgeting and professional development. Meanwhile, parents found the score report to be helpful, but rarely took additional actions to use its information. Participants suggested that future versions of score reports contain additional information, such as student growth information and description of technical terms. The results of the study on which this paper is based provide implications for further development and use of K–12 ELL score reports.

Full Paper

keywords: score report; L2 assessment; K–12 ESL